Hello! Where’ve you been? What? Me? Oh nothing, really. Just a little brush with mortality, that’s all. Just a little death, disease and pestilence that I didn’t want to bore you with, but everything’s, fine now. No, really. It is. And to make up for the long silence, this is an extra long post. You can read it in chapters. Go and get a coffee, or a better yet, a martini. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
For lack of a better term, I came down with a fever. At the end of January. Just a little one at first. Just a generalized, achy feeling that hovered around for a week or two. No big deal. But by Valentine’s Day, it started to creep up. I’d be glazed over by dinnertime, and then by bedtime I’d be hot as blazes, and not in a good way. I went to the doctor and the doctor said “No more monkeys jumping on the bed”. She also ran a bunch of tests: blood, urine, chest X-ray. Nothing. A week later I was SO hot blooded that when she checked it to see, I had a fever of 103. More tests: this time, my blood count had dropped. The doctor started to get concerned. Because I had been away at Christmas, I was tested for malaria and for dengue (cue the tom-toms beating in the jungle). Nada. Still the fever continued, spiking at night where I would wake up absolutely soaked. We had to change the sheets and pillowcases several times a night. John called me the human humidifier. I had absolutely no other symptoms. The doctors were stumped.
But not me. Oh no. Thanks to many hours on the Internet, I had it narrowed down to leukemia, lymphoma or anaplastic anemia. As one who has already received extremely bad medical news once in her life, I figured I’d just save the doctors the trouble. Keep in mind that I had NO REAL VALID REASON TO BELIEVE THIS. There are many explanations for a FUO (Fever of Unknown Origin), but I went straight for the worse case scenario. I was weepy, but organized. I started projecting: cremation, not burial. No lilies. John would have to sell the house. They could move closer to Ronan’s school, but will need a yard for dogs. So that’s where I was when I finally found an infectious disease specialist, a high school friend of my sister’s, who checked me out, ran some more tests, and essentially said pish tosh. This is viral. You’ll start feeling better eventually.
But when I didn’t, and started popping up with other symptoms (swollen lymph glands, head to toe itchiness), they stepped up the testing: CT scan, MRI, biopsy. I stepped up the list making: I had the funeral music playlist done, and headstone designed (I know I said cremation, not burial, but I wasn’t rational). At this point, lymphoma surged ahead as the most likely candidate, and the medical team expanded to include a hematologist. In case you’ve been listening, I did in fact work throughout this whole period. I would get up, spend six hours laughing (and sweating) with my radio pals across the nation, and then go back to bed. Sometimes, I would make it to the chair in the family room. Two weeks ago, I made it as far as Vermont, for a long-in-the-planning family ski trip. I didn’t do much skiing: too busy writing my obituary. Meanwhile, as the results of the tests started to trickle in, the symptoms … started to disappear. Finally, last Thursday, I received the final diagnosis: not lymphoma. Not leukemia. Nothing life threatening. What I most likely had was a crazy viral infection followed by an intense immune system reaction. And, like a deranged villain in a Western, after shooting up everything in sight, it just rode out of town. Meaning I’m fine. Ten pounds lighter, and a little shaken up, but fine.
You may have had a Good Friday, but we had a great one. I apologize for the long silence, but just didn’t have much to blog about while I was staring the Specter of Death in the eye socket. It has been a humbling experience, as this came out of nowhere, and could happen to anyone. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why I get to walk away once again, when so many others do not. But for that, I am most grateful.
AND I have the details of my funerale all sorted out. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.